Activity centre in need

Downtown: New people would bring new perspectives.

All that is needed are a few more helping hands.

From early struggles to keep the place open about a decade ago, the SASCU Downtown Activity Centre has grown into a vibrant operation.

“Now it’s used continually and we have many programs, including the Mandela Project and many other programs for young people, says Ian Wickett, president of the non-profit society that runs the centre.

There are day care, out-of-school care and preschool programs in the downtown centre as well as in North Canoe Hall.

“The programs we are offering started with National Crime Prevention funding and then when the school board decided to close Salmon Arm Elementary and JL Jackson, there was no longer a downtown focus, a place where people could go,” he says, noting the downtown activity centre has been extremely well received in the community. “I think it’s important for the programs involving youth and employment and the presence the building creates in the community.”

Wickett, who has been onboard since the first proposal for such  a facility was launched, laughingly describes his initiation.

“Dirk Kiy and Kim Sinclair were tenants in my building and they needed somebody to do the incorporation and become a director,” he says. “As things were struggling and not going well, people sort of faded away and Winston Pain and I were the only ones that stuck with it, and we took turns being president.”

Jokingly accusing Pain of “bailing” to join the Shuswap Trail Alliance, Wickett says five or six great directors remain on the activity centre board. But, he adds, the board should be larger in order to spread the workload and provide different perspectives.

And he would like to see those perspectives provided by a wide range of people, including those who live downtown and those who use the centre.

Directors sign for a two-year term and meet for about 90 minutes every two weeks. If they are agreeable, directors could put in more time in additional committee work.

Anyone interested in keeping the “pulse of downtown” vibrant, may call Ian Wickett at 250-833-2889.